Some people just cannot picture stepping outside without applying their makeup. They feel like they literally cannot be seen without it. For psychology graduate Amy Robb, this wasn't an exaggeration: it was her reality. She was actually addicted to wearing makeup. She was so unhealthily obsessed that she even wore it to bed, applying layers and layer throughout the day to disguise the sight of her own face.
For five years, the man she was dating never had a chance to see her complexion au natural, and she would wake up at 4am (two hours before she started work at the bakery) to begin apply concealer, extra-thick foundation, bronzer, eye shadow, blusher, five coats of mascara and her fake eyelashes.
Amy' obsession first manifested itself back when she was 13, after her cousin taught her how to apply cosmetics. Amy was elated that she could use foundation to cover her zits and blemishes. She was already insecure about her appearance, and suffered from an acute form of body dysmorphia disorder - perceiving herself to be far uglier and more unattractive than she actually was. She spiralled as a result of her lack of self-worth, suffering from depression and anorexia throughout her teens, and as things worsened, so did her makeup addiction.
Amy stated: "I’d spend hours doing my make-up. It was an addiction. I just couldn’t stop. I wouldn’t let anyone really see me without make-up. I’d go to bed in it if my boyfriend stayed over. But I wouldn’t usually be able to sleep, as I’d be so scared the make-up had rubbed off and he’d see me without it. I wore extra-thick foundation, fake eyelashes and dyed my hair peroxide blonde. I looked like a Barbie Doll – slim, with big blonde hair, really tanned and all made-up."
She added: "I thought I looked so much better with make-up on. My natural completion is pale and on top of that I developed acne, so I was desperate to cover my face. I tried everything, from creams to strong tablets, like the acne drug Roaccutane, but nothing seemed to help. I felt disgusting without it. My face was covered in spots, so I felt like people would think I was really ugly without it and was so uncomfortable in my own skin."
Things didn't change for Amy until she finally decided to seek help for her eating disorder. She checked herself into hospital after a suicide attempt in 2016, and slowly began to turn her life around. She finally began to embrace a natural look, weaning herself off cosmetics in hospital.
"I’d been without make-up for such a long time in hospital that something inside me changed," She stated. "I couldn’t be bothered to put make-up on any more. I thought, ‘Why should I wear it to be appreciated?’ All I wanted was to be myself. And the more I went without it, the more comfortable I felt in my own skin. I put on a dab of concealer and some mascara, and that’s it. I feel so happy now and free."
If you or anyone else you know is struggling with any kind of addiction, them please visit the official website of Mind for advice on coping with dependency issues.